Call for Papers: Tracing the Ecological Footprint of East Asian and World Civilizations, The Fourth Conference of East Asian Environmental History

call for papers [150-2]Call for Panels, Papers, and Posters
Tracing the Ecological Footprint of East Asian and World Civilizations
The Fourth Conference of East Asian Environmental History
(EAEH 2017)
Hosted by Nankai University, Tianjin, China, October 2017

The fourth conference of East Asian environmental history will be held from October 27-30, 2017 in Tianjin, China. It is being jointly organized by the Association for East Asian Environmental History, Chinese Society for Environment Sciences along with a number of other institutions and will be hosted by Nankai University. It will provide an opportunity for multidisciplinary, international academic dialogue. Historians,
archaeologists, ecologists, geographers, environmental scientists and other scholars in relevant fields are invited to gather together to review humanity’s and especially the East Asian peoples’ environmental past, to explain the constantly expanding and deepening interrelationship between humans and the sky, the earth, and the seas, and their various biotic and abiotic components, and to examine the environmental
challenges that human civilizations, including East Asian civilizations have faced in the past and are still facing today. Our goal is to reach a more profound understanding of the complex eco-historical process of the interaction and co-evolution between human beings and nature for this important world region, and to provide non-western perspectives for the search for a road to a harmonious and symbiotic relationship
between man and nature and sustainable development. Scholars from all around the world who are interested in environmental history are welcome.

The general theme of the conference is Tracing the Ecological Footprint of East Asian and World Civilizations. The phrase “ecological footprint” is used in a broad sense here. It does not mean that we must all adopt in the conference a quantitative model for investigating ecological relationships between humans and nature in history, although we appreciate and eventually will need such efforts. We use the phrase to express the goal of attempting to figure out the qualitative as well as quantitative dimensions of human impact on the natural environment for the past few thousand years—to retrace the historical footprints of East Asian and world civilizations from many perspectives.
Discussions of the long-term changes in natural systems (including climate, land, sea, and species populations and distribution) are welcome. Yet we particularly encourage attention to materials, technology, economy, social structure, political institutions, living patterns, and concepts from the perspective of environmental history. What impact or “footprint” have natural forces had on the development of various civilizations? How do we explain how the East Asian peoples, for their own subsistence and development, have adapted to diverse natural settings, continuously expanded the utilization of natural resources, and caused tremendous environmental changes, eventually leading to a state of ecological crisis today? We also encourage a more comprehensive and extensive comparison within the region and beyond so as to
grasp the pulsations, rhythms, patterns, and cycles that human systems and natural systems have exhibited. We encourage proposals that focus on East Asian civilization’s historical integrity, diversity, independence, and linkages among regions and nations, as well as their common natural origin and ecological consequences. But our interest is not confined to this specific region. We also realize that East Asia has
never been ecologically and culturally isolated from the outside world. More attention should be paid to the historical connections between East Asia and other parts of the world. All in all, we hope this conference will promote a more inclusive narrative and a more holistic understanding of East Asian environmental history and the region’s ecological links with the rest of the world. The following are some suggested sub-themes:

  1. Spatial-temporal Process & Historical Pulsation: The Origin, Expansion and Transformation of East Asian Civilization.
    2. Natural Environment and Social Forms: Population Behavior, Ethnic Groups and Nation-state Regimes….
    3. Environment and Lifestyles: Economic Systems, Material Production and the Ways of Food, Clothing, Housing and Transportation.
    4. Environment, Resource and Technology and: Exploitation and Utilization of Material and Energy and Their Impacts to Eco-system.
    5. Deep blue seas changed into Mulberry Fields: The Changing Landscape Under the Joint Action of Natural and Human Forces.
    6. Challenge and Response:Disaster, Disease and Pollution in the Process of Human Civilization.
    7. Cognition and Emotion:Knowledge, Values, Beliefs and Aesthetic Related to Environment.
    8. East Asia and the Outside World:Cultural Contact and Ecological linkage Across Lands, Oceans and Skies.

Participants are encouraged to organize panels and to submit sets of coordinated proposals. Single papers and individual or group posters, however, are also welcome. The organizer will invite experts to review, make selections among the proposals, and publicize the results as soon as possible.

We sincerely welcome colleagues (whether or not a member of the AEAEH) to send us their proposals to help us create that more inclusive narrative and to suggest new avenues of research. The working language of EAEH 2017 is English. All participants except the keynote
speakers are expected to provide competent translations of their work in English, both in their proposals, presentations, and commentaries. To ensure a smooth communication and to encourage young scholars (including doctoral candidates, post-doctoral researchers, etc.) to participate in the conference, we plan to recruit from around the world 5 to 10 volunteers who will serve as simultaneous interpreters during the conference. In compensation, they will be exempted from the usual registration fee and entitled to free accommodation. Applicants should declare their willingness to serve as conference interpreters when they register and provide proof of their language skill. To be chosen as an interpreter, we need evidence of proficiency in both English and Chinese (1 to 2 interpreters should also be fluent in Japanese), and of a professional-level background in environmental history or a related field.

Scholars interested in the conference should log into our website to provide the relevant materials and information in time as required, including

1) Conference registration and paper abstract or panel proposal submission by March 31, 2017.
2) Hotel reservation & attendance confirmation by August 30, 2017.
3) Full paper or report material submission by September 30, 2017.

For further information and updates, please visit our website ( If you have any suggestion or problem, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Miss Hsiao-yun Liu

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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